Alpha seeing February trend of imminent dangers

AN ALPHA Natural Resources operation in southern West Virginia has received an imminent danger order from federal inspectors, its second this month for a worker witnessed performing a hazardous activity.
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Alpha Natural Resources corporate headquarters.

Donna Schmidt

In a filing the company made Tuesday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Virginia-based producer said that the order from the US Mine Safety and Health Administration was received by the Brooks Run Cucumber operation in War on February 23.

“[It alleges] that a miner…was observed operating a mechanized scoop by walking along side of it and activating the controls by reaching into the operator’s compartment,” officials said in the documentation.

“Brooks Run has a safety policy which prohibits the cited behavior.”

No injuries or accidents were reported as a result of the activity and no withdrawal of miners was necessary.

“Brooks Run has retrained all miners working at the mine regarding its safety policy and the order has been terminated,” Alpha said.

On February 2, Alpha’s Marfork Coal Slip Ridge Cedar Grove mine in Whitesville received an MSHA imminent danger order when an unnamed miner was observed entering an area of unsupported roof.

“Marfork has a safety policy which prohibits entry into areas of unsupported roof,” it said. 

“Mine personnel have reviewed that policy with the mine’s workforce and the order has been terminated,” the company said at the time, confirming that no injuries resulted from the condition.

Alpha did not make any further public comment on the events at Brooks Run or Marfork.

Imminent danger orders are issued by MSHA under section 107(a) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act, also known as the Mine Act.

Section 1503 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street and Consumer Protection Act, amended last July, now requires disclosure of all imminent danger incidents as part of new reporting requirements regarding mine safety.

Since its acquisition of Massey Energy last June, Alpha controls about five billion tons of reserves in central and northern Appalachia, the Illinois Basin and the Powder River Basin and is the second-largest reserve holder in the nation.

Alpha’s metallurgical coal reserve base is among the world’s largest and highest quality, with assets including about 150 coal mines and 40 preparation facilities.

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